NASFAA
TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Friday, November 17, 2017

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NEWS FROM NASFAA

 Off the Cuff

This week on "Off The Cuff," Stephen and Allie take the reins with Justin and Megan out of town. Stephen gives us an update on the special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' old Senate seat and how the outcome could have an impact on tax reform and other important legislation moving through Congress. He also dives into the details of how the House and Senate tax reform proposals differ. Meanwhile, Allie walks through the highlights from the first session of negotiated rulemaking for borrower defense, which kicked off this week. Moving forward, the Department of Education will take negotiators' feedback and return with a draft regulation for the second session in January. Plus, Stephen and Allie bring back "What Was That" for a one-week cameo!

The federal government created the gainful employment (GE) regulations to help protect students from investing in expensive, proprietary institutions that left them buried in debt and unprepared to enter the job market. Unfortunately, in doing so it also created obstacles for community colleges offering vocational programs, according to a new report from the American Enterprise Institute.

Leadership Conference

The 2018 Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo, to be held Feb. 26-28, 2018, in Washington, D.C., includes two days of sessions on various leadership and professional development topics, followed by an optional day on Capitol Hill where participants can advocate on behalf of their students. Attendees will have their choice of four leadership pathways, including the popular Fundamentals of Enrollment Management and Strategic Enrollment Management tracks. View the Agenda at-a-Glance for the tentative schedule and register today to take advantage of early-bird pricing.

Following the successful launch of NASFAA's Compliance Engine in July 2016, NASFAA rolled out a new module––The Policies and Procedures Builder––in January 2017 to further help financial aid administrators remain in compliance and avoid negative audit and program review findings. The P&P Builder guides users through the creation of a customized, collaborative policies and procedures manual. NASFAA Now, our annual impact report, is filled with association data, accomplishments, and compelling original content that can't be found anywhere else. Read more about the creation and launch of the P& P Builder on page 25.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

As a reminder, every organization enrolled for a Student Aid Internet Gateway (SAIG) account is required to review and validate its assigned TG numbers and Electronic Services user accounts by December 15, 2017. Currently, approximately 50 percent of accounts still require validation.

The updated National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Enrollment Reporting Guide, a comprehensive document containing step-by-step instructions for reporting enrollment information to NSLDS, is now available.

FEDERAL REGISTER

The Student Assistance General Provisions regulations were amended by adding Subpart Q to Part 668, to establish measures for determining whether certain postsecondary educational programs lead to gainful employment in recognized occupations, and the conditions under which these educational programs remain eligible for student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).

The Student Assistance General Provisions regulation was amended by adding Subpart R to 34 CFR part 668. Subpart R––Program Cohort Default Rates mirrors Subpart N––Cohort Default Rates where applicable. Subpart R established a programmatic cohort default rate (pCDR) for gainful employment (GE) programs, whereas Subpart N established an institutional cohort default rate (iCDR).

This collection is necessary to certify the identity of individuals requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA). This certification is required under 5 U.S.C. Section 552a(b). The form is used by Privacy Act requesters to obtain personal records via regular mail, fax or email. The department will use the information to help identify first-party or third party requesters with same or similar name when requesting retrieval of their own documents.

The Student Assistance General Provisions regulation was amended by adding Subpart Q to Part 668. This subpart applies to postsecondary educational programs that lead to gainful employment (GE) in recognized occupations. 1845-0122 pertains to § 668.406—Appeals for Debt to Earnings (D/E) rates. The regulations allow an institution to submit alternate earnings appeals to challenge the Secretary's determination of a GE program that is failing or in the zone based on the D/E rates calculated for a specific GE program.

HEADLINES

National News

"Two new proposed U.S. Senate bills aim to make it easier for students to navigate the complex financial aid process and educate students about borrowing federal money to finance a college education," according to The GW Hatchet. NASFAA's Stephen Payne is quoted saying, "there needs to be a wholesale look at the current consumer information and financial aid counseling environment today – before we think about what we can do to layer on those requirements – to ensure that we have a simplified streamline system for students and borrowers." 

"House Republicans on Thursday pushed through tax reform legislation widely opposed by higher education leaders who say many of its provisions will make a college degree less attainable and hurt the financial strength of institutions," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"The higher ed lobby has singled out specific provisions of Republicans’ proposed tax overhaul instead of taking on the idea that loopholes should be closed to pay for lower corporate taxes. Leaders say that’s the right strategy, even though polling shows the bill is widely unpopular," according to Inside Higher Ed. 

"Student loan debt continues to be big problem in America. The national student debt now totals over $1.4 trillion, with the average per graduate in the US at $17,126. Student debt can create obstacles for people wanting to buy a house or start a family after graduation. But there are differences across states," Business Insider reports. 

"Recently released federal data show that 17 percent of federal student debt holders are over the age of 50. This group of older borrowers collectively hold $247 billion in student debt, an amount that has roughly tripled since 2003," Inside Higher Ed reports. 

Opinions

"Like other graduate students, I was devastated when I heard the news about the tax bill...Unfortunately, I heard skepticism from people that anyone outside academe should care about graduate student tuition waivers. Such skepticism is misguided and relies on the notion that universities are disconnected from or do not serve the public," Mary Grace B. Hebert writes in an opinion article Inside Higher Ed

Blogs & Think Tanks

"We, in education policy and practice communities, need to better understand who near-completers are, why they left, and how postsecondary institutions can be more supportive, welcoming spaces for them to return and reap the full benefits of completing a credential," Ivy Love writes for the Education Commission of the States' blog series. 

"Attending college as a parent can be a daunting affair: It’s hard to find enough hours in the day for work, family, and school...Now, new data show another challenge for student-parents: repaying their federal loans. The analyses presented here show that almost half of student-parents who began college in the 2003-04 school year and borrowed a federal loan for their undergraduate education defaulted within 12 years of enrolling," Colleen Campbell writes for the Center for American Progress.

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